Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

05/05/2005 01:30 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 291 WORKERS' COMPENSATION RECORDS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ HB 297 OIL& GAS EXPLORATION CREDIT & LEASE TERMS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ HCR 12 LEG TASK FORCE ON RURAL SUSTAINABILITY TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHCR 12(FIN) Out of Committee
+ SB 142 REGIONAL SCHOOL BD LAND OWNERSHIP TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ SB 144 EMISSION CONTROL PROGRAM PERMITS/REGS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ SB 150 ALASKA CHILDREN'S TRUST FUND GRANTS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ SB 130 WORKERS' COMPENSATION/ INSURANCE TELECONFERENCED
<Pending Referral>
+= HB 106 SENIOR CARE PROGRAM TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 106(FIN) Out of Committee
= SB 110 POLLUTION DISCHARGE & WASTE TRMT/DISPOSAL
Moved HCS CSSB 110(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                        May 5, 2005                                                                                             
                         1:39 P.M.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 1:39:03 PM.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Jim Holm                                                                                                         
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Paul Seaton; Representative  Bill Thomas; Kurt                                                                   
Fredriksson,   Commissioner,   Department  of   Environmental                                                                   
Conservation;  Marie Darlin,  Alaska  Association of  Retired                                                                   
Persons (AARP), Juneau; Jon Sherwood,  Department of Health &                                                                   
Social  Services; Joel  Gilbertson, Commissioner,  Department                                                                   
of  Health   &  Social  Services;  Janet   Clarke,  Assistant                                                                   
Commissioner,  Division of Finance  and Management  Services,                                                                   
Department  of  Health  and  Social   Services;  Linda  Gohl,                                                                   
Director, Alaska  Commission on  Aging, Department  of Health                                                                   
and Social Services                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Cameron Leonard,  Assistant Attorney  General, Department  of                                                                   
Law, Anchorage                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 106    An  Act establishing  the senior  care program  and                                                                   
          relating to  that program; creating a  fund for the                                                                   
          provision  of the  senior  care program;  repealing                                                                   
          ch.  3, SLA  2004; and providing  for an  effective                                                                   
          date.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          CS HB 106 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with                                                                    
          a "no" recommendation and with four new zero                                                                          
          fiscal notes  by the Department of  Health & Social                                                                   
          Services.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 291    An Act relating to release of information in                                                                          
          individual   workers'   compensation  records   for                                                                   
          commercial   purposes;   and   providing   for   an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          HB 291 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HB 297    An Act extending and amending the requirements                                                                        
          applicable  to the credit  that may be  claimed for                                                                   
          certain oil  and gas exploration  expenses incurred                                                                   
          in  Cook  Inlet  against  oil  and  gas  properties                                                                   
          production  (severance)  taxes,  and  amending  the                                                                   
          credit against those  taxes for certain exploration                                                                   
          expenditures  from other  leases  or properties  in                                                                   
          the  state  and,  conditionally,   for  exploration                                                                   
          expenditures   made   in   the   Alaska   Peninsula                                                                   
          competitive oil and  gas area wide lease sale area;                                                                   
          and providing for an effective date.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          HB 297 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                   
HCR 12    Relating to the Joint Rural Assessment Task Force.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          CS HCR 12 (FIN) was  reported out of Committee with                                                                   
          a  "do pass"  recommendation  and with  a new  zero                                                                   
          note by the Legislative Affairs Agency.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 110(FIN)(efd fld)                                                                                                         
          An Act  relating to regulation of the  discharge of                                                                   
          pollutants  under the National Pollutant  Discharge                                                                   
          Elimination System.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
          HCS CS  SB 110 (FIN) was reported  out of Committee                                                                   
          with  a "no" recommendation  and with zero  note #1                                                                   
          by the Department  of Fish & Game, zero  note #2 by                                                                   
          the Department  of Natural Resources,  zero note #4                                                                   
          by  the  Department   of  Transportation  &  Public                                                                   
          Facilities and fiscal  note #5 by the Department of                                                                   
          Environmental Conservation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 130(FIN) am                                                                                                               
          An Act  relating to a special deposit  for workers'                                                                   
          compensation  and  employers'  liability  insurers;                                                                   
          relating  to  assigned   risk  pools;  relating  to                                                                   
          workers' compensation  insurers; stating the intent                                                                   
          of  the legislature,  and setting out  limitations,                                                                   
          concerning  the interpretation,  construction,  and                                                                   
          implementation   of  workers'  compensation   laws;                                                                   
          relating   to  the  Alaska  Workers'   Compensation                                                                   
          Board;    assigning    certain   Alaska    Workers'                                                                   
          Compensation  Board  functions to  the division  of                                                                   
          workers'  compensation in  the Department  of Labor                                                                   
          and Workforce  Development and to  that department,                                                                   
          and    authorizing    the   board    to    delegate                                                                   
          administrative   and  enforcement  duties   to  the                                                                   
          division;   providing  for  workers'   compensation                                                                   
          hearing    officers   in   workers'    compensation                                                                   
          proceedings;  establishing a Workers'  Compensation                                                                   
          Appeals    Commission;    relating   to    workers'                                                                   
          compensation  medical benefits  and to charges  for                                                                   
          and  payment  of  fees for  the  medical  benefits;                                                                   
          relating  to  agreements  that  discharge  workers'                                                                   
          compensation   liability;   relating  to   workers'                                                                   
          compensation   awards;  relating  to   reemployment                                                                   
          benefits and job dislocation  benefits; relating to                                                                   
          coordination  of workers' compensation  and certain                                                                   
          disability   benefits;  relating  to   division  of                                                                   
          workers' compensation  records; relating to release                                                                   
          of  treatment records;  relating  to an  employer's                                                                   
          failure  to  insure  and keep  insured  or  provide                                                                   
          security;  providing for appeals  from compensation                                                                   
          orders;    relating   to   workers'    compensation                                                                   
          proceedings;    providing    for   supreme    court                                                                   
          jurisdiction   of   appeals   from   the   Workers'                                                                   
          Compensation  Appeals Commission;  providing  for a                                                                   
          maximum  amount for  the cost-of-living  adjustment                                                                   
          for  workers'  compensation benefits;  relating  to                                                                   
          attorney    fees   with    respect   to    workers'                                                                   
          compensation;  providing   for  the  department  to                                                                   
          enter into  contracts with nonprofit  organizations                                                                   
          to   provide   information   services   and   legal                                                                   
          representation to injured  employees; providing for                                                                   
          administrative  penalties  for employers  uninsured                                                                   
          or   without   adequate   security   for   workers'                                                                   
          compensation; relating  to fraudulent acts or false                                                                   
          or misleading  statements in workers'  compensation                                                                   
          and   penalties  for   the   acts  or   statements;                                                                   
          providing  for  members   of  a  limited  liability                                                                   
          company to be included  as an employee for purposes                                                                   
          of workers'  compensation; establishing  a workers'                                                                   
          compensation   benefits   guaranty   fund;   making                                                                   
          conforming  amendments; providing  for a  study and                                                                   
          report  by the medical  services review  committee;                                                                   
          establishing    the   Task   Force    on   Workers'                                                                   
          Compensation; and providing  for an effective date.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
          CS SB 130(FIN) am was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 142(L&C)                                                                                                                  
          An Act relating to ownership of land by regional                                                                      
          school boards; and providing for an effective                                                                         
          date.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          CS SB 142(L&C) was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 144(RES)                                                                                                                  
          An Act relating to regulations, definitions, and                                                                      
          permits under the emission control permit program;                                                                    
          and providing for an effective date.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          CS SB 144(RES) was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 150(HES)                                                                                                                  
          An Act relating to the Alaska children's trust                                                                        
          grant awards.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
          CS SB 150(HES) was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 110(FIN)(efd fld)                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to regulation of the discharge of                                                                          
     pollutants under the National Pollutant Discharge                                                                          
     Elimination System.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:40:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair   Stoltze  MOVED   to  ADOPT   Amendment  #4   for                                                                   
Representative Seaton.  Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KURT FREDRIKSSON,  COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT  OF ENVIRONMENTAL                                                                   
CONSERVATION,  explained  that   the  Department  intends  to                                                                   
continue the  work group to  help develop the  bill proposal.                                                                   
The original intent of the work  group was to help those most                                                                   
affected  in   their  attempt   to  get  approval   from  the                                                                   
Environmental  Protection  Agency  (EPA).    All  work  group                                                                   
activities are public  noticed for comment.   He thought that                                                                   
Amendment #4 would  create a more formal process.   He stated                                                                   
it was unnecessary  because the Administrative  Procedure Act                                                                   
already clearly addresses that.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer OBJECTED.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote  was taken on the motion to  adopt Amendment                                                                   
#4.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Stoltze, Croft, Joule, Kelly                                                                                     
OPPOSED:       Foster, Hawker, Holm, Meyer, Chenault                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Moses and Representative  Weyhrauch  were not                                                                   
present for the vote.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (4-5).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair   Stoltze  MOVED   to  ADOPT   Amendment  #5   for                                                                   
Representative Seaton.  Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Fredriksson  explained that the  amendment would                                                                   
insert language  on Page 5,  Line 13, after "program"  adding                                                                   
"or  comments  on  a  draft permit".    The  work  group  has                                                                   
attempted to  draw up the appropriate  language.    There are                                                                   
laws requiring a review if substantive  changes are made.  He                                                                   
thought it  would place  an obligation  on the Department  to                                                                   
discuss  changes   with  all  parties  and   urged  that  the                                                                   
amendment  not move  forward.   He guaranteed  that if  there                                                                   
were  significant changes  made,  the Department  is  already                                                                   
required to offer a significant review.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze WITHDREW his  OBJECTION.   Representative                                                                   
Kelly OBJECTED.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:47:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Joule   asked   who   defines   "significant                                                                   
changes".  Commissioner  Fredriksson replied it  would be the                                                                   
Department with respect to rule making and permitting.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Chenault  inquired   if  the  Department  would  be                                                                   
required  to discuss  all  comments regarding  that  process.                                                                   
Commissioner Fredriksson said they would.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:48:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze WITHDREW  Amendment #5.   There  being NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was withdrawn.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  recommended that  the  bill  be held  in                                                                   
Committee so  that Representative Weyhrauch could  be present                                                                   
to add his comments.    Co-Chair Meyer agreed  but noted that                                                                   
it was  his intent  to move  the bill  from Committee  at the                                                                   
morning meeting.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB 110 was HELD for further consideration.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 12                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Relating to the Joint Rural Assessment Task Force.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Chenault MOVED  to ADOPT  work draft  #24-LS0964\I,                                                                   
Cook,  5/3/05,  as  the  version   of  the  bill  before  the                                                                   
Committee.      Representative  Croft OBJECTED  to  hear  the                                                                   
changes.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:50:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BILL  THOMAS,  SPONSOR, explained  that  many                                                                   
communities in Alaska are going  into debt and/or terminating                                                                   
local  services  because  of  inadequate  State  and  federal                                                                   
funding.  With  lack of a sustainable economy  that generates                                                                   
revenue necessary  to fund local services,  those communities                                                                   
are hurting.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Thomas believed  the Legislature would benefit                                                                   
from a  clear picture  regarding the  current state  of these                                                                   
rural  communities.   The proposed  resolution  calls on  the                                                                   
Legislature  to  establish  a  Joint  Rural  Assessment  Task                                                                   
Force.  The Task Force would be  charged with assessing needs                                                                   
of  rural communities  and reporting  those  findings to  the                                                                   
Legislature by January 15, 2006.  Membership would include:                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
*    Six legislators                                                                                                            
*    One designee of the Alaskan Municipal League                                                                               
*    One designee of the First Alaskans Institute                                                                               
*    One public member                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Thomas  anticipated that the Task  Force would                                                                   
draw  on  the  work  of  several   organizations  to  conduct                                                                   
assessments and  develop findings, including  recommendations                                                                   
made  by Governor  Murkowski's Rural  Energy Action  Council,                                                                   
the  Denali  Commission's  five-Year  strategic  plan  and  a                                                                   
community  needs assessment  report completed  by the  Alaska                                                                   
Municipal League.   The Task Force would conduct  hearings in                                                                   
three to five communities across Alaska.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:54:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  supported the  idea  and  asked who  the                                                                   
"public  members" would  be.   Representative Thomas  replied                                                                   
non-legislative  members as  chosen by  the President  of the                                                                   
Senate or the Speaker of the House.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:54:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair   Stoltze   inquired  if   Representative   Thomas                                                                   
expected  to have  a  role in  the process.    Representative                                                                   
Thomas replied  that he would  help move  it and that  he had                                                                   
been  invited to  three of  the communities  already to  meet                                                                   
with those residents.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:55:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Thomas  pointed  out  that  one  meeting  was                                                                   
planned   for  the   Alaska  Federation   of  Natives   (AFN)                                                                   
Conference scheduled in Fairbanks.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule inquired  about Legislative involvement.                                                                   
Representative  Thomas  mentioned  rather  than  attaching  a                                                                   
fiscal note,  there would be  private donations coming  in to                                                                   
reduce costs.   He  added that leadership  on both  sides are                                                                   
participating.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:57:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker commented  on  the idea  of no  fiscal                                                                   
note.    Representative   Thomas  explained  that   the  bill                                                                   
originally had a note; the intent is to zero it out.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft WITHDREW  his OBJECTION.  There being NO                                                                   
further OBJECTION, the work draft was adopted.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:58:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker MOVED to  replace fiscal note #1 with a                                                                   
new  zero note.    There being  NO  OBJECTION,  the note  was                                                                   
zeroed   and  would   be  accommodated   from  the   existing                                                                   
legislative budget.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:58:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly encouraged the  Task Force look  at the                                                                   
issues  for decreasing  federal funds,  unemployment and  the                                                                   
sustainability of  those communities.  Representative  Thomas                                                                   
said that was the intent.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:00:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker MOVED to  REPORT CS HCR 12 (CRA) out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal  note.  There being NO  OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS HCR  12 (FIN)  was reported  out of  Committee with  a "do                                                                   
pass"  recommendation  and  with  a  new  zero  note  by  the                                                                   
Legislative Affairs Agency.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:02:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 110(FIN)(efd fld)                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to regulation of the discharge of                                                                          
     pollutants under the National Pollutant Discharge                                                                          
     Elimination System.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch MOVED to ADOPT Amendment #1, #24-                                                                      
GS1009\GA.2, Bullock, 5/4/05.  Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch noted that  he would like  to amend                                                                   
Amendment #1,  by deleting  Lines 1-9.   The language  of the                                                                   
amendment would insert a new bill  section, Page 6, following                                                                   
Line 1, which  would clarify the duties of  the Department of                                                                   
Environmental Conservation.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  OBJECTED  to  the  deletion  of  that                                                                   
language.  Representative  Weyhrauch advised that  the intent                                                                   
was  only to  replace  that section  and  then  create a  new                                                                   
Section 6.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:04:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch  reiterated  his intent  to  delete                                                                   
Lines 1-9 and replace with deleted Section 1.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  WITHDREW his OBJECTION.   Commissioner                                                                   
Fredriksson interjected that the  Department had no objection                                                                   
to the change.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:05:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly   referenced  Line  16   (B)  regarding                                                                   
establishing the work  group, and asked why EPA  had not been                                                                   
included.  Representative Weyhrauch  explained that the "work                                                                   
group"  language  had  originated  in  the  Governor's  bill.                                                                   
Commissioner Fredriksson  added, the intent was  to establish                                                                   
a working  group regulated by  the program and  involving EPA                                                                   
only  to  the  extent  that  the   application  passes  their                                                                   
approval.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair  Stoltze WITHDREW his  OBJECTION.  There  being NO                                                                   
further OBJECTION, Amendment #1 was adopted.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:07:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch MOVED to ADOPT Amendment #2, #24-                                                                      
GS1009\GA.3, Bullock, 5/4/05.  Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch explained  that the amendment mostly                                                                   
addressed  grammatical   editing  language.     The  proposed                                                                   
verbiage simply makes it easier to read and understand.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:09:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule requested  clarification regarding those                                                                   
changes.  Representative Weyhrauch explained the need.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:10:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Fredriksson  acknowledged  that  the  amendment                                                                   
provides a  technical clarification  and that the  Department                                                                   
would not object.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:10:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch  MOVED a  change  to Amendment  #2.                                                                   
(Copy on File).   The language inserts a new  Section (J): "A                                                                   
person who  applies for  a permit under  the program  has the                                                                   
opportunity to review a proposed  final permit and discuss it                                                                   
with staff  of the  department before  the department  issues                                                                   
the permit".   There  being NO  OBJECTION, the amendment  was                                                                   
amended.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:10:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  WITHDREW  his OBJECTION.    Commissioner                                                                   
Fredriksson agreed  to proposed  changes.  Amended  Amendment                                                                   
#2 was adopted.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:12:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch WITHDREW Amendment #3.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  MOVED  to  RESCIND  previous  action  on                                                                   
failure to  adopt Amendment  #4.   There being NO  OBJECTION,                                                                   
the action was rescinded.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:13:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze MOVED to ADOPT  Amendment #4 in order that                                                                   
the  sponsor  be able  to  address  it.   Vice-Chair  Stoltze                                                                   
OBJECTED.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL SEATON advised  the language was added in                                                                   
the  House  Resources  Committee.    He  indicated  that  the                                                                   
developed  permitting  process allows  public  access to  the                                                                   
work group.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Fredriksson  spoke  against the  amendment.  He                                                                   
indicated that the Department  recognizes their obligation to                                                                   
the public review  process.  The Department  annually reports                                                                   
to  the  Governor  and  the Legislature  and  should  not  be                                                                   
required  to   go  through  an  administrative   rule  making                                                                   
process.  The Department would not support the amendment.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:17:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch  asked if  there  were federal  EPA                                                                   
requirements  for public  notice of  meetings.   Commissioner                                                                   
Fredriksson did  not know the  process required for EPA.   He                                                                   
noted that  all meetings  regarding the proposed  legislation                                                                   
had  been  public   noticed;  however,  there   had  been  no                                                                   
administrative  rule  making  process.   The  Department  was                                                                   
focused on establishing  a work group affected  and regulated                                                                   
by the program.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:18:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch  asked if the meetings  were subject                                                                   
to Alaskan law Open Meetings Act.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:19:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAMERON  LEONARD, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  ASSISTANT                                                                   
ATTORNEY  GENERAL, DEPARTMENT  OF  LAW, ANCHORAGE,  explained                                                                   
that under  the Open  Meetings  Act, a meeting  of that  type                                                                   
would not be  subject to those requirements.   Normally, only                                                                   
government  entities   with  decision-making   authority  are                                                                   
subject.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch asked  if it  was the  Department's                                                                   
intent  to provide  public notice  if the  amendment was  not                                                                   
enacted.   Commissioner  Fredriksson  replied the  Department                                                                   
has in the past and does intend to in the future.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:19:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton  interjected that if the  public is not                                                                   
involved in the front-end process,  ultimately, there will be                                                                   
problems d.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze WITHDREW his  OBJECTION.   Representative                                                                   
Weyhrauch OBJECTED.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Joule, Stoltze, Weyhrauch, Chenault                                                                              
OPPOSED:       Foster, Hawker, Holm, Kelly, Meyer                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  and  Representative   Moses  were  not                                                                   
present for the vote.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (4-5).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:21:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair   Stoltze    MOVED   to   ADOPT    Amendment   #5.                                                                   
Representative Kelly OBJECTED.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Seaton explained  that  the amendment  allows                                                                   
the permittee  to  comment on  the draft with  the intent  to                                                                   
make  a   more  open   process.    Commissioner   Fredriksson                                                                   
countered  that  the  Department's   idea  is  to  allow  the                                                                   
opportunity  for the  permit recipient  to "have  a look"  in                                                                   
case something  technical was missing.   He stated  there are                                                                   
opportunities for  appeal rights  for both the  applicant and                                                                   
      rd                                                                                                                        
the  3  parties.    If there  were significant  changes  made                                                                   
during  the public  comment  period,  the Department  has  an                                                                   
obligation to  go back to  the public  for the changes  to be                                                                   
addressed.   He believed the  amendment was not  necessary to                                                                   
protect the public's interest.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:25:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch  commented  on  potential  problems                                                                   
resulting from  public interest groups sending  mass mailings                                                                   
regarding   their   specific   concerns.     He   asked   how                                                                   
Representative Seaton would address that situation.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Seaton  explained  that  regulators  are  not                                                                   
allowed  to  draft   opinions  before  they  come   up.    He                                                                   
reiterated it would end up in  Court because only one side is                                                                   
being allowed to testify on the permit process.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:27:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch  noted language on Page  5, Line 12,                                                                   
regarding  the public  process period.   The  permit is  made                                                                   
public  following an  internal  review and  all comments  and                                                                   
emails  are subject to  disclosure under  the Public  Records                                                                   
Act.    Representative   Seaton  argued  the   need  for  the                                                                   
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:29:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly  questioned how it would  "play out"; he                                                                   
thought that getting parties together  could be difficult and                                                                   
spoke against the amendment.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:31:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Croft                                                                                                            
OPPOSED:       Foster,   Hawker,    Holm,   Kelly,   Stoltze,                                                                   
               Weyhrauch, Meyer, Chenault                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule  and  Representative   Moses  were  not                                                                   
present for the vote.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (1-8).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster MOVED to  REPORT HCS  CS SB  110 (FIN)                                                                   
out  of Committee  with individual  recommendations and  with                                                                   
the accompanying  fiscal note.  There being  NO OBJECTION, it                                                                   
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HCS CS  SB 110  (FIN) was  reported out  of Committee  with a                                                                   
"no" recommendation  and with zero note #1  by the Department                                                                   
of Fish  & Game, zero  note #2 by  the Department  of Natural                                                                   
Resources, zero  note #4 by the Department  of Transportation                                                                   
& Public Facilities  and fiscal note #5 by  the Department of                                                                   
Environmental Conservation.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 106                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An  Act   establishing  the  senior  care   program  and                                                                   
     relating  to  that  program;  creating a  fund  for  the                                                                   
     provision of  the senior care program; repealing  ch. 3,                                                                   
     SLA 2004; and providing for an effective date.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:32:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOEL GILBERTSON, COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & SOCIAL                                                                   
SERVICES, noted  that HB  106 was a  bill relating  to health                                                                   
care  benefits   available  to  eligible   low-income  senior                                                                   
citizens.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
In 2004,  the Senior  Care program  was enacted and  provided                                                                   
for  needs-based  cash  assistance and  a  prescription  drug                                                                   
benefit.   Today,  approximately 6,800  seniors with  incomes                                                                   
below  the 135%  percent  of the  federal  poverty level  for                                                                   
Alaska receive  $120 a month  in cash assistance  through the                                                                   
Senior  Care program.   The  program has  been successful  in                                                                   
reaching senior citizens in Alaska  that are truly in need of                                                                   
cash assistance.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson added that  the Senior Care  program                                                                   
is anticipated to  sunset no later than January 1,  2006.  HB
106  would repeal  the temporary  law created  last year  and                                                                   
replace it  with a  permanent law  that would strengthen  the                                                                   
Senior Care  program, allowing it  to continue.   He stressed                                                                   
the crucial need for the State  to continue providing support                                                                   
for Alaska's most needy senior  citizens beyond January 2006.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The  proposal  to  improve  Senior   Care  would  be  through                                                                   
creation  of a  supplement to  the  recently enacted  federal                                                                   
Medicare drug  benefit for Alaska's  seniors.  Under  the new                                                                   
federal Medicare benefit, many  seniors are still required to                                                                   
pay premium  and deductible  expenses for prescription  drugs                                                                   
out of  their own pockets.   For Alaska seniors  with incomes                                                                   
up to 300% percent of the federal  poverty level, Senior Care                                                                   
would  pay  the  premiums  and  deductibles  on  the  seniors                                                                   
behalf; a  benefit of approximately  $670 dollars  per person                                                                   
annually.  Seniors with Medigap  or other comparable coverage                                                                   
would  be eligible  to receive  the benefit  as long as  they                                                                   
meet the basic income and asset standards for Senior Care.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Gilbertson  anticipated over 40%  percent of the                                                                   
estimated  41,000 Alaska  seniors would  be eligible  for the                                                                   
Senior  Care  benefit.   Passage  of  the  legislation  would                                                                   
result  in, virtually  all seniors in  Alaska being  eligible                                                                   
for  prescription  drug  coverage through  a  combination  of                                                                   
federal,  State,  and  employer-sponsored  drug plans  as  of                                                                   
January  2006.   That represents  an incredible  achievement;                                                                   
adequate prescription  drug coverage  remains a top  priority                                                                   
for seniors.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:38:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARIE  DARLIN,  VOLUNTEER,  ALASKA   ASSOCIATION  OF  RETIRED                                                                   
PERSONS  (AARP), JUNEAU,  voiced strong  support for  HB 106,                                                                   
including  the   amendments  before   the  Committee.     She                                                                   
explained  that the  bill would  be helpful  and welcome  for                                                                   
older Alaskans that are most in need.  She urged support.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:40:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA GOHL, DIRECTOR, ALASKA COMMISSION  ON AGING, DEPARTMENT                                                                   
OF  HEALTH  AND  SOCIAL  SERVICES,  voiced  support  for  the                                                                   
legislation.   She noted that  seniors would prefer  the 300%                                                                   
level,   however,  HB   106   would  provide   a   reasonable                                                                   
compromise.  The drug benefit program is critical.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:41:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment  #1, #24G-1,                                                                   
5/5/05.   (Copy  on File).   Co-Chair  Chenault OBJECTED  for                                                                   
discussion purposes.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  explained  that the  amendment  would                                                                   
change federal  poverty level  amount from  300% to  175% and                                                                   
sunset June 30, 2007.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker noted changes  on the amendment,  Page                                                                   
1, Line  9:  "Reverts  to the  unreserved general  fund after                                                                   
all valid obligations June 30, 2007 are met".                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Gilbertson voiced support for the amendment.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:44:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Chenault WITHDREW  his OBJECTION.   There  being NO                                                                   
further OBJECTION, Amendment #1 was adopted.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  referenced the four fiscal  notes from                                                                   
the Department  of Health and  Social Services.   He inquired                                                                   
how the funding was anticipated to be spent.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JANET  CLARKE, ASSISTANT  COMMISSIONER,  DIVISION OF  FINANCE                                                                   
AND  MANAGEMENT SERVICES,  DEPARTMENT  OF  HEALTH AND  SOCIAL                                                                   
SERVICES,  summarized  the fiscal  note  handout.   (Copy  on                                                                   
File).                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
In FY06,  it is estimated that  the Senior Care  Program will                                                                   
cost  $6.87  million  dollars;  in FY07,  the  cost  will  be                                                                   
$13.212  million dollars.   Currently,  the  fund balance  is                                                                   
$8.86 million  dollars.   In FY06, no  general funds  will be                                                                   
needed for the program because  of forward funding.  In FY07,                                                                   
approximately  $12  million  general  fund  dollars  will  be                                                                   
necessary.  The program, currently,  will sunset midway FY06.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:48:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker asked if  the numbers were  consistent                                                                   
with the reconciled ones from the senior cash care benefit.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:49:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JON SHERWOOD, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH  & SOCIAL SERVICES, stated                                                                   
that at  this time, there  are fewer than 7,000  participants                                                                   
in the  program.   It is  anticipated that  once the  program                                                                   
begins, that  number will increase  to 7,000.  When  the drug                                                                   
benefit is  added, the  program could increase  approximately                                                                   
4,100, projected by FY07.  There  is no overlap between those                                                                   
numbers  and  that  the  cash  assistance  program  does  not                                                                   
provide any drug benefit.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:50:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
In   response   to   comments   by   Representative   Hawker,                                                                   
Commissioner   Gilbertson   explained  that   the   statement                                                                   
regarding cash benefits was accurate  and relates to existing                                                                   
populations.    Those individuals  will  have  no premium  or                                                                   
deductible through  federal law.  There is no  way to provide                                                                   
them the  drug benefit.  Cash  assistance is the only  way to                                                                   
deliver a benefit to them.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:51:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker referenced  the fiscal note, indicating                                                                   
the Senior  Care fiscal  note for  four full-time  employees.                                                                   
He asked  if any were  new positions.   Ms. Clarke  explained                                                                   
that  in  the FY06  budget,  the  Department  eliminated  all                                                                   
Senior Care  positions because the  program sunset.   Many of                                                                   
those positions still exist and  that the note would only ads                                                                   
them back into employment.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:52:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Holm asked if  Amendment #1 would  affect the                                                                   
fiscal note.   Ms. Clarke replied  it did and had  been taken                                                                   
into consideration with the revised note.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:53:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster MOVED to  REPORT CS HB 106 (FIN) out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal notes.  There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS HB  106 (FIN)  was reported  out of  Committee with  a "no                                                                   
recommendation" and  with four new  zero fiscal notes  by the                                                                   
Department of Health & Social Services.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 2:54 P.M.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                

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